Canada's PM: US tariffs on steel, aluminum a 'very bad idea'

Canada's PM: US tariffs on steel, aluminum a 'very bad idea'

The EU and other countries have been asked to spell out what limits they could accept on the amount of steel they export to the United States, how they would address the issue of excess production of steel and aluminum and how they would support the USA before global bodies like the World Trade Organization.

U.S. President Donald Trump has postponed a decision on imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, the European Union and Mexico until June 1, and has reached an agreement in principle with Argentina, Australia and Brazil, a source familiar with the decision said on Monday. He also granted a permanent exemption to South Korea. The White House provided temporary exemptions in March and has until the end of Monday to decide whether to extend them. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said late Friday that quotas on imports from Europe and other countries are necessary so imports from those countries don't simply replace Chinese imports.

The leaders of Germany, France and Britain are ready to push back if the Trump administration does not permanently exempt the European Union from new import taxes on aluminum and steel imports, German Chancellor said Sunday.

If unresolved, those countries could become subject to USA tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium as previously announced in a move created to target China.

That meant the steel tariff covered just 30 percent of all imports, according to Oxford Economics.

Trump has invoked a 1962 trade law to erect protections for US steel and aluminum producers on national security grounds, amid a worldwide glut of both metals that is largely blamed on excess production in China.

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Those talks are due to resume next week.

Canada is the largest source of steel imports into the United States, with a steel industry that is highly integrated with its southern neighbor. However, forcing countries to limit their exports to a particular country violates World Trade Organization rules, and the European Commission has said it won't be bullied into negotiating concessions before Washington grants a permanent waiver on the metal tariffs.

In her meeting with Trump, Merkel said, she saw little progress in obtaining permanent exemptions.

"The only thing that I can tell you today is that we are patient but we are also prepared", Margaritis Schinas told reporters.

The EU has also said it's prepared to apply retaliatory tariffs on $3.5 billion of imports from the US, ranging from orange juice to blue jeans. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy.

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